ARREST AND TRIAL 169
because Su^ Tungpo believed that, being the accused, he should not
appear in his official gown. Mr. Tsu was of the opinion, however, that
-before he was formally accused he should still appear according to his
rank. Tungpo therefore also put on his gown and boots and stood with
the ceremonial tablet in the middle of the courtyard, facing the official,
•while Mr. Tsu and the staff lined up behind him with small turbans
on their heads. The two soldiers who held the message of the censorate
in their hands hugged the package as if it contained a sword. The grim
silence of the official messenger caused an unbearable suspense. It was
Su who spoke first.
"I know I have done many things to anger the court. I am sure this
is a sentence for my death. I don't mind dying, but please allow me to
go home to say farewell to my family."
The official, Huangfu Chun, replied curtly: "It is not so bad as that."
Then the deputy magistrate advanced a step. "I am sure there is an
"Who is he?" asked Huangfu Chun, and the deputy magistrate told
him who he was. The soldiers then formally handed over the message
to the deputy magistrate. On opening it, he found that it was only an
ordinary message depriving Su Tungpo of his office as magistrate and
summoning him to the capital The official messenger asked him to
start at once.
^ Su Tungpo was permitted to go home and see his family before he
started. According to the record in his own journal, the whole family
was weeping. Su Tungpo laughingly told them the following story to
cheer them up:
In the reign of Chentsung, the Emperor was looking for great
scholars living in retirement. Somebody recommended a scholar by
the name of Yang Pu. Greatly against his own wish, Yang Pu was
escorted to the court and presented to the Emperor.
"I hear you write poetry," said the Emperor.
"No, I don't," said Yang Pu, who was trying to conceal his talent and
desperately trying to keep out of politics.
"Didn't some of your friends give you some poems when they were
sending you off?" asked the Emperor again.
"No," replied Yang Pu. "Only my wife wrote one."
"What is that poem, may I ask?" said His Majesty,
So Yang Pu recited for the Emperor the poem that his wife had given
him on his departure. The poem was:
"Don't be too greedy for the cup,
Please stop fussing over poetry.
Today you are arrested under guard,
This time you'll lose your upper storey."